The recount of the votes in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race is the right thing to do. Challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who trails incumbent Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes, requested the statewide recount recently.
“Wisconsin residents must have full confidence that these election results are legitimate and that this election was fair,” she said.
She’s absolutely correct.
It’s easy to say that Kloppenburg is motivated by sour grapes and that taxpayers should not have to pay for a recount that could cost more than $1 million and in all likelihood not change the outcome of the race.
Even Prosser jumped on that bandwagon by releasing a statement that accused Kloppenburg of “wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”
But this is about more than the money. This was a messy political race soiled by third-party nastiness that was downright embarrassing and fueled by opponents of Gov. Scott Walker who wanted to support Kloppenburg to send the governor a message.
The reality is that no recount has ever changed a 7,300-some vote total. If that were the end of the story, a recount would probably not be necessary.
But it only adds more gas to the fraud allegations fire when 14,315 votes were discovered in Waukesha County by a Republican clerk and announced two days after the election, changing the outcome of the race.
Consider if the roles were reversed. What if Prosser had won by a narrow margin and a Democratic county clerk with a history of state political connections and a questionable track record of counting ballots suddenly announced she forgot to count more than 14,000 votes and Kloppenburg emerged as the victor?
Would everyone still feel the same about whether the recount was needed?
Prosser’s campaign spokesman Brian Nemoir stated that the only thing Kloppenburg will accomplish by the recount is to challenge and disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin’s citizens. He’s wrong because the opposite may indeed occur. If we do not, through a painstaking recount process, ensure our citizens that we can trust our ballot process, then that will disenfranchise our citizens.
Kloppenburg also announced that she wants the Government Accountability Board to investigate Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. We support that move as well. Nickolaus should either be cleared of any wrongdoing if that’s the case or removed from office if she did something wrong.
This recount isn’t really about who wins. This is about the process, not about Prosser or Kloppenburg. It’s essential that citizens can trust that when they vote, it’s accurately recorded and accurately reported.
Negative campaigns and voter apathy do enough on their own to keep people away from the ballot box. We need to know that the politicians who collect the most votes have really earned that right to uphold our trust.
— La Crosse Tribune